Storing some files on your computer is unavoidable even in this era of cloud computing. Whether you are saving a document, downloading software or moving photos from your camera to your pc, you are storing locally. Computer data storage is most commonly measured in Terabytes these days. One Tb is equal to one thousand Gigabytes. In addition to your data, your hard drive also stores the operating system (Windows, Apple or Linux). Computers either have a Solid state drive (SSD) with no moving parts, or Hard disk drive (HDD) containing a motor and magnets. You are probably familiar with these terms, but which is better?
The traditional HDD gives you a lower cost per Gigabyte of storage but at the expense of speed. The HHD stores data on spinning metal platters and utilises a read/write arm to access the information in a similar fashion to a record player. Due to lower costs and higher capacities, HDD’s are commonly used in server to store large amounts of information. Disadvantages of HDD include larger size, higher power consumption, reduced speed and mechanical parts to wear out.
SSDs are becoming more popular as the cost comes down, but still are more expensive than HDDs. The SSD operates by using integrated circuits to store data persistently, much like a USB thumb drive. Consequently, SSDs are faster, smaller and usually more reliable. The main negative is price, with the current cost for a one Terabyte SSD around $200 compared to about $80 for a traditional HDD.
Some computers contain both HDD and SSD, gaining the best of both worlds. Running the operating system from a smaller SSD improves computer speed, while a large and lower cost HDD stores your files. This combination provides the best performance for the price. As always remember to back up your data. All computers and disks fail eventually and often without warning.